Residents: Israel holding exercises in Jordan Valley

Maan News Agency | April 29, 2013

Israeli soldiers detain Jewish settlers from Yitzhar near the northern  West Bank city of Nablus. (MaanImages/File)

Israeli soldiers detain Jewish settlers from Yitzhar near the northern
West Bank city of Nablus. (MaanImages/File)

JENIN (Ma’an) — The Israeli army prepared to conduct military exercises in the northern Jordan Valley on Sunday, preventing school children from attending classes, residents said.

Soldiers prevented students from going to their schools, and demanded that other Palestinians evacuate their houses.

Local residents quoted soldiers as saying the maneuvers will take place until Tuesday in the northern Jordan Valley, adding that it was designed to replicate a Lebanese town.

An army spokeswoman did not immediately return calls.

Late Saturday the Israeli army moved troops, tanks and armored vehicles into the area, according to residents who said they were told to evacuate their houses before morning.

Muhanad al-Hrub, a student in the 10th grade, said he was on his way to class in Akaba village when soldiers prevented him from approaching the school. Al-Hrub said he missed an exam Sunday morning.

“I woke up at Fajer (call to prayer) and I started studying for the exam before I headed to my school. On my way to school, an Israeli military patrol accompanied by a tank stopped us,” he said.

“They stopped the tractor which the students and I were riding … They forced us to return to the village. They claimed that there is presence of military reinforcements for a military maneuver.”

He added: “Whenever they want to hold a military exercise, they force us to leave our houses and prevent us from going to our school.”

He said 40 other students were prevented from going to class.

Aref Daraghmeh, the mayor of al-Malih and al-Madarib, told Ma’an that Israeli forces were present in the area since early morning. They also prevented student from going to their and schools in the Waraba and Tayasir villages.

The exercises will start Monday at 7 p.m. and end Tuesday at 6 p.m., he said. Overall, they will prevent 120 students from attending classes during this period, he said.

Two days earlier, Israeli forces delivered evacuation orders to around 100 families in the al-Malih and al-Madarib areas ahead of the exercise. Forces warned residents that they intended to use live fire, he said.

They also will raid houses and tents, Daraghmeh said.

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